Aug 302011

The “regulars” at VMWorld know that this is the keynote to attend.  The second day is where we hear less about The Vision and more about The Technology.  Looks like a much fuller house this morning.  The Keynote begins at 8:07 am pacific time.

Here we go:

The keynote kicks off with a video with admins and some of the issues they have and how they are solving them.

First speaker is Dr. Steve Herrod, CTO, VMware.  Steve talks about the world we come from, the world of managing desktops and servers.  He says that we want to start managing services and not servers.  We want to manage devices, not users.  Steve shows another video about how people are using mobile devices for their day-today work.  Steve is segueing into how we keep up to managing these devices and the user’s information and data.  Steve says we need to simplify, manage and connect the users.  He says VMware has been using View to provide the desktop as a service and using ThinApp to create an App Catalog Service.  Lastly, VMware has been creating a new data service which manages the user’s information.

Steve now starts to show a demo of View 5 and how it provisions desktops.  This is a demonstration of the “desktop as a service” above.  The next thing is to provide the apps as a catalog.  Steve then does a demo of Horizon.  The cool part here is he’s showing how Horizon will be able to scan for apps and import them into the catalog.  (This is huge as I believe the main challenge to ThinApp adoption is the admin work required to package the apps. – This drastically reduces that time.)  He shows how Horizon will be able to deploy apps automatically when the user uses it the first time or can be chosen by the user from a catalog.

Steve goes on to talk about the user data to manage.  He talks about “Project Octopus” and compares it to Dropbox.  He shows how the data will be managed: A user can use a spreadsheet on their desktop and then it sill automatically be available on their phone.  All of the demos are from the Administrator perspective and how the admins will control these products.

Steve moves on to demo the same products from the user perspective.  Steve introduces Vittorio to demo View5 and Horizon and he pretends to have it first day on the job.  He shows how he logs into his desktop for the first time and chooses his office applications from a dashboard.  He also shows how he can choose mobile apps from the same dashboard.  As he chooses one for his mobile, he gets a text message from the server with a link to install the app. (Pretty cool stuff).  Steve is back and summarizes the demo.  He talks about how they are working on implanting this on Android mobile devices.  He says that they have started strategic partnerships with Samsung to roll it out on their devices.  (No mention of Apple whatsoever.)

Vittorio is back again to demo how he gets his data on the road.  He does a demo where he has Excel on his iPad to edit a spreadsheet on the road. Steve is back recapping the demo.  Steve explains AppBlast (just demoed for the first time publicly) which gives users the ability to run Windows Apps on the iPad with nothing but HTML5.  (Very, very cool stuff – get ready Citrix, you’ll need something comparable).

Steve is now switching from desktops.  He shows the new vSphere Client for iPad and how a vMotion is done by “dragging” the VM from one host to another on the iPad.  Steve goes on to the new features in vSphere 5.  Steve gives an overview of VMware Go.  It’s a hosted service that helps SMBs deploy VMware in their environment.  He also talks about the new vSphere Storage Appliance and welcomes Bruce to the stage to show both.  Bruce shows a demo of VMware Go and the vSphere Storage Appliance.  Steve now talking about Auto Deploy and how it can spin up hosts running ESXi very quickly.  He talks about the large VMs of vSphere 5 (32-vCPUs, 1TB RAM, etc)

He talks a little more about Intelligent Virtual Infrastructure and when we deploy VMs, we should be able to “set it and forget it.”  When we deploy VMs we should be able to set policies for VMs so that they cannot “misbehave” in the future.  He’s now reviewing the new storage IO controls, pools and storage DRS in vSphere 5.  He moves into networking.  He’s describing the problem we have with networking today.  This issue is that identifier = location.  He describes their solution: VXLAN.  VXLAN is a way to move VMs across datacenters and maintain connectivity while moving VMs.  VMware has summited this as a standard with the help of Cisco.  Steve says this is the last barrier for full Cloud mobility.  After we solve this, customers will be able to unleash the full power of the global cloud.

Steve goes on to DR and Site Recovery Manager 5.  He talks about the new vSphere Replication built in to replicate the VMs to the DR side without the need for storage based replication (love this stuff.)  He mentions that when they integrate VXLAN, you will not need to reconfigure the IP addresses in the VMs.

Now on to security.  Steve describes vShield Endpoint, Edge and App and how the new features in 5.0 protect the VMs at many layers. He then goes on to management and how the focus of VMware is to automate as much as possible.  He gives the audience a “sneak peek” at where the automation tools are going.  He shows the new vSphere Web Client and shows a new column in the client labeled “Services.”  This enables the admin to see what is running on them without an agent.  The client is also showing the integration between VMs.  The use case is that if I protect a app server by SRM, the client can warn me that the app server depends on the sql server and it is not protected (absolutely brilliant.)  Steve goes on to show an upcoming version of vSphere Operations.  It has a new display of “Business Metrics” these are rollups for Management to be able to see how the infrastructure is performing.

Steve starts to sum up the keynote and how it’s about services and people.  How we have to adapt and use these technologies in the future.

My notes:  A few nice peeks at advances: AppBlast, VXLAN, vSphere and Operations futures sprinkled in with all of the new stuff in vSphere 5.  One thing I absolutely noticed: minimal vFabric mentions.  Reason being that this is not a developer conference and I’ve seen vFabric clear a room of non-developers.  Well done VMware.


Aug 292011

It a bit of an unusual move, the Day 1 keynote at VMworld 2011 was at 3:30pm Pacific time. This session is in a amazingly large room that can hold 20,000 people in chairs. If you were at VMworld last year, imagine that room with another 30 yards of chairs on each side. Here’s the session recap:

We begin at 3:40pm pacific time. First up is Rick Jackson, Chief Marketing Officer from Vmware. Rick announces attendance at 19,000. Rick talks about the labs at vmworld. He talks about how in 2009 the labs were in a private cloud, in 2010 it was a hybrid cloud, and in 2011 it is a pure public cloud (mostly running at Terramark in Miami, FL). This year they expect to deploy 200,000 VMs in the labs over the course of this week. Rick reviews a few upcoming schedule highlights for the week. He also mentions VMworld 2012 will be in San Francisco August 27-30, 2012. He also mentions that they are reaching the limits of Vegas (uh, I thought CES was much larger).

Next up is Paul Martiz, CEO, VMware. Paul says that for the first time more than half of the entire install base of server applications is now running on virtualized infrasucture and no longer a majority on physical infrastructures. Here are some cool stats: a VM Is born every 6 seconds (more than human births in the U.S.), and there are more than 20 million VMs in the world. He also said there are more than 5.5 vmotions per second, which is more vms in flight, than humans in flight. There are 800,000 Vmware admins and 68,000 VCPs. Paul goes on to review the history of IT computing until now. He leads the audience the “Cloud Era”. This is a time where PCs are the minority. He talks about eventually replacing the mainframe and mini computers. He says that we are going from a world of apps that were made for a paper world. They were not designed to be real time. These will need to be replaced by apps that now need to scale and perform in real time.
Paul reviews the previous VMworld announcements of sphere, 4.0, 4.1, and now 5.0. Paul said that vSphere 5 is the first release that he has ever delivered that was on time and had all of the features that it was supposed to. Paul says that all of the Cloud Inastructure Suite will be released together, vCloud Director, vShield, Operations Manager, SRM and vSphere. These core platform products will be released together in the future.
Paul talks about the migration of old apps onto the new platforms in the Cloud Era. For these developers, VMware has developed vFabric. Paul makes the announcement of Data Director. This will allow developers to scale out databases for the new modern applications. Last topic on vFabric he explains Cloud Foundry and what it does and how it works. Not much new here, just education for the newbies.
Paul goes on to talk about desktops and announces View 5.0. It has bandwidth improvements, client ubiquity, and VOIP/unified communications. He segues into Project Horizon and delivering applications to different devices. Paul talks about the virtualization of phones and having your personal phone and corporate phone combined. (just don’t see this happening with apple and google now buying Motorola).
Paul summarizes the 3 strategies: the platform, the next generation of applications and lastly the next generation of users and their devices.
Paul invites Carl Eschenbach, co-president, customer operations, Vmware to the stage. Carl goes on to introduce a few customers and how they work with VMware. This seems like a commercial for VMware so I’ll stop blogging for now and continue with the good stuff tomorrow (where we get to dig into the technology)

Aug 252011

After much anticipation, VMware has finally released vSphere 5.0 with it’s new licensing model.  You can head right over to the download site and start plugging away here for ESXi and here for vCenter 5.0.

As always, here’s the what’s new section from the release notes:

With this release, the VMware virtual datacenter operating system continues to transform x86 IT infrastructure into the most efficient, shared, on-demand utility, with built-in availability, scalability, and security services for all applications and simple, proactive automated management. The new and enhanced features in vSphere 5.0 are listed below.

Platform Enhancements
VMware vCenter Server
Partner Ecosystem
Platform Enhancements

Convergence. vSphere 5.0 is the first vSphere release built exclusively on the vSphere ESXi 5.0 hypervisor architecture as the host platform. The ESX hypervisor is no longer included in vSphere. The vSphere 5.0 management platform, vCenter Server 5.0, supports ESXi 5.0 hosts as well as ESX/ESXi 4.x and ESX/ESXi 3.5 hosts.

VMware vSphere Auto Deploy. VMware vSphere Auto Deploy simplifies the task of managing ESXi installation and upgrade for hundreds of machines. New hosts are provisioned based on rules that the administrator defines. Rebuilding a server to a clean slate requires only a reboot. To move between ESXi versions, you create a new rule using the Auto Deploy PowerCLI and perform a test and repair compliance operation.

Unified CLI Framework. The expanded ESXCLI framework offers an extensible command set, including new commands to facilitate on-host troubleshooting and maintenance. The framework allows consistency of authentication, roles, and auditing, using the same methods as other management frameworks such as vCenter Server and PowerCLI. You can use the ESXCLI framework both remotely as part of vSphere CLI and locally on the ESXi Shell (formerly Tech Support Mode).

New virtual machine capabilities. ESXi 5.0 introduces a new generation of virtual hardware with virtual machine hardware version 8, which includes the following new features:
32-way virtual SMP. ESXi 5.0 supports virtual machines with up to 32 virtual CPUs, which lets you run larger CPU-intensive workloads on the VMware ESXi platform.

1TB of virtual machine RAM. You can assign up to 1TB of RAM to ESXi 5.0 virtual machines.

Software support for 3D graphics to run Windows Aero. ESXi 5.0 supports nonhardware accelerated 3D graphics to run Windows Aero and Basic 3D applications in virtual machines.

USB 3.0 device support. ESXi 5.0 features support for USB 3.0 devices in virtual machines with Linux guest operating systems. USB 3.0 devices attached to the client computer running the vSphere Web Client or the vSphere Client can be connected to a virtual machine and accessed in it. USB 3.0 devices connected to the ESXi host are not supported.

UEFI virtual BIOS. Virtual machines running on ESXi 5.0 can boot from and use the Unified Extended Firmware Interface (UEFI).

Graphical User Interface to configure multicore virtual CPUs. You can now configure the number of virtual CPU cores per socket in the Virtual Machine Properties view in the vSphere Web Client and the vSphere client. Previously this feature was only configurable through advanced settings.

Client-connected USB devices. USB devices attached to the client computer running the vSphere Web Client or the vSphere Client can be connected to a virtual machine and accessed within it.

Smart card reader support for virtual machines. Smart card readers attached to the client computer running the vSphere Web Client or the vSphere Client can be connected to one or more virtual machines and accessed in them. The virtual machine remote console, available in the vSphere Web Client and the vSphere Client, supports connecting smart card readers to multiple virtual machines, which can then be used for smart card authentication.

Expanded support for VMware Tools versions. VMware Tools from vSphere 4.x is supported in virtual machines running on vSphere 5.0 hosts. Additionally, the version of VMware Tools supplied with vSphere 5.0 is also compatible with ESX/ESXi 4.x.

Apple Mac OS X Server guest operating system support. VMware vSphere 5.0 adds support for the Apple Mac OS X Server 10.6 (“Snow Leopard”) as a guest operating system. Support is restricted to Apple Xserve model Xserve3,1 systems.

Host UEFI boot support. vSphere 5.0 supports booting ESXi hosts from the Unified Extensible Firmware Interface (UEFI). With UEFI you can boot systems from hard drives, CD/DVD drives, or USB media. Booting over the network requires the legacy BIOS firmware and is not available with UEFI.

Support for up to 512 virtual machines per host. vSphere 5.0 supports up to 512 virtual machines totaling a maximum of 2048 virtual CPUs per host.

Support for larger systems. vSphere 5.0 supports systems with up to 160 logical CPUs and up to 2TB of RAM.

Improved SNMP support. With vSphere 5.0, you can convert CIM indications to SNMP traps. Check with your hardware vendor to see whether their CIM provider supports this functionality. In addition, vSphere 5.0 now supports the Host Resources MIB (RFC 2790) and allows for finer control over the types of traps sent by the SNMP agent.

Memory fault isolation. On supported platforms, ESXi 5.0 detects and quarantines physical memory regions that exhibit frequent correctable errors. This preemptive action reduces the risk of uncorrectable errors that result in VM or host downtime. Should an uncorrectable memory error occur, ESXi 5.0 quarantines the failed memory region and restarts the affected virtual machines. ESXi halts with a purple diagnostic screen only if the memory error affects the hypervisor itself. These enhancements deliver improved VM and host availability.

Image Builder. A new set of PowerCLI cmdlets lets administrators create custom ESXi images that include third-party components required for specialized hardware, such as drivers and CIM providers. You can use Image Builder to create images suitable for different types of deployment, such as ISO-based installation, PXE-based installation, and Auto Deploy.

Host Profiles Enhancements. Using an Answer File, you can configure host-specific settings to use with the common settings in the Host Profile, which removes the need to add host-specific parameters. This feature enables the use of Host Profiles to fully configure a host during an automated deployment. In addition, Host Profiles includes support for an expanded set of configurations, including iSCSI, FCoE, Native Multipathing, Device Claiming and PSP Device Settings, and Kernel Module Settings.

Metro vMotion. Ability to use vMotion to move a running virtual machine when the source and destination ESX hosts are more than 5ms round trip time latency apart. The maximum supported round trip time latency between the two hosts is now 10ms.

Enablement of Trusted Execution Technology (TXT). ESXi 5.0 can be configured to boot with Intel Trusted Execution Technology (TXT). This boot option can protect ESXi in some cases where system binaries are corrupt or were tampered with.

Improvement in scalability. ESXi 5.0 supports up to 160 logical processors.


Storage DRS. This feature delivers the DRS benefits of resource aggregation, automated initial placement, and bottleneck avoidance to storage. You can group and manage similar datastores as a single load-balanced storage resource called a datastore cluster. Storage DRS makes disk (VMDK) placement and migration recommendations to avoid I/O and space utilization bottlenecks on the datastores in the cluster.

Profile-driven storage. This solution allows you to have greater control and insight into characteristics of your storage resources. It also enables virtual machine storage provisioning to become independent of specific storage available in the environment. You can define virtual machine placement rules in terms of storage characteristics and monitor a virtual machine’s storage placement based on these administrator-defined rules. The solution delivers these benefits by taking advantage of the following items:

Integrating with Storage APIs – Storage Awareness to deliver storage characterization supplied by storage vendors.

Enabling the vSphere administrator to tag storage based on customer-specific descriptions.

Using storage characterizations to create virtual machine placement rules in the form of storage profiles.

Providing easy means to check a virtual machine’s compliance against these rules.

As a result, managing storage usage and choice in vSphere deployments is more efficient and user-friendly.

vStorage APIs – Storage Awareness. A new set of APIs that allows vCenter Server to detect capabilities of a storage device, making it easier to select the appropriate storage disk for virtual machine placement. Storage capabilities, such as RAID level, thin or thick provisioning, replication state, and so on, can now be made visible with vCenter Server.

VMFS5. VMFS5 is a new version of vSphere Virtual Machine File System that offers improved scalability and performance, and provides internationalization support. With VMFS5, you can create a 64TB datastore on a single extent. RDMs in physical compatibility mode with the size larger than 2TB can now be presented to a virtual machine. In addition, on SAN storage hardware that supports vStorage APIs – Array Integration (also known as VAAI), ESXi 5.0 uses the atomic test and set (ATS) locking mechanism for VMFS5 datastores. Using this mechanism can improve performance, although the degree of improvement depends on the underlying storage hardware.

iSCSI UI support. Configure dependent hardware iSCSI and software iSCSI adapters along with the network configurations and port binding in a single dialog box using the vSphere Client. Full SDK access is also available for these configurations.

Storage I/O Control NFS support. vSphere 5.0 extends Storage I/O Control to provide cluster-wide I/O shares and limits for NFS datastores.

Storage APIs – Array Integration: Thin Provisioning. Reclaim blocks of a thin-provisioned LUN when a virtual disk is deleted or migrated. You can also preallocate space on thin-provisioned LUNs and receive advanced warnings and error messages when a datastore on a thin-provisioned LUN starts to fill up. The behavior of a full thin-provisioned disk is also improved. Only virtual machines that are trying to allocate new blocks on a full thin-provisioned datastore are paused. Virtual machines that do not require additional blocks on the thin-provisioned disk continue to run.

Swap to Host Cache. The VMkernel scheduler is modified to allow ESXi swap to extend to local or network SSD devices, which enables memory overcommitment and minimizes performance impact. The VMkernel automatically recognizes and tags SSD devices that are local to ESXi or are on the network.

2TB+ LUN support. vSphere 5.0 provides support for 2TB+ VMFS datastores. Very large VMFS5 datastores with the size of up to 64TB can be created on a singe storage device without additional extents.

Storage vMotion snapshot support. Allows you to use Storage vMotion for a virtual machine in snapshot mode with associated snapshots. You can better manage storage capacity and performance by using flexibility of migrating a virtual machine along with its snapshots to a different datastore. A new Storage vMotion mechanism uses a mirror driver, which synchronizes the source disk to the destination disk, making the migration quicker.

Software FCoE. vSphere 5.0 introduces support for a software Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE) driver. To enable this driver on an ESXi host, you must have a NIC that can support some FCoE offload capabilities.

Snapshot commitments. If a snapshot commit operation fails, this feature enables the vSphere Client to warn users that a consolidate operation is still required on the virtual machine.


Enhanced Network I/O Control. vSphere 5.0 builds on network I/O control to allow user-defined network resource pools, enabling multitenancy deployment, and to bridge virtual and physical infrastructure QoS with per resource pool 802.1 tagging.

vSphere Distributed Switch Improvements. vSphere 5.0 provides a deeper view into virtual machine traffic through Netflow and enhances monitoring and troubleshooting capabilities through SPAN and LLDP.

ESXi Firewall. The ESXi 5.0 management interface is protected by a service-oriented and stateless firewall, which you can configure using the vSphere Client or at the command line with esxcli interfaces. A new firewall engine eliminates the use of iptables and rule sets define port rules for each service. For remote hosts, you can specify the IP addresses or range of IP addresses that are allowed to access each service.

VMware vCenter Server

vSphere Web Client. A new browser-based user interface that is supported across Linux and Windows platforms. In the 5.0 release, the vSphere Web Client is a replacement for the Web Access product. The client is suitable for all console and virtual machine use cases, allowing administrators to manage their environments.

vCenter Server Appliance. A vCenter Server implementation running on a preconfigured virtual appliance. This appliance significantly reduces the time required to deploy vCenter Server and associated services and provides a low-cost alternative to the traditional Windows-based vCenter Server.

Inventory Extensibility. VMware customers and partners can extend vCenter Server in multiple ways, including the inventory, graphical user interface, and agents. vCenter Server includes a manager to monitor the extensions. By deploying extensions created by VMware partners, you can use vCenter Server as a unified console to manage your virtualized datacenter.

Enhanced logging support. All log messages are now generated by syslog, and messages can now be logged on either local or one or more remote log servers. A given server can log messages from more than one host. Log messages can be remotely logged using either the Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) or TCP connections. The vSphere syslog listener is available as an optional plug-in to vCenter on Windows. In the vCenter Virtual Appliance (VCVA), logging is accomplished using the native syslog-ng facility. With vSphere 5.0, log messages from different sources can be configured to go into different logs for more convenience. Configuration of message logging can also be accomplished using ESXCLI in addition to the vSphere Client.


vSphere HA. vSphere High Availability is now a cloud-optimized availability platform. Enhancements such as the elimination of the primary and secondary roles and removal of the dependence on DNS make configuration easier. New features, such as the ability to use shared storage as a backup communication channel ensure higher reliability of host failure detection.

vSphere Data Recovery 2.0. VMware increases the speed and reliability of backups expands with the release of Data Recovery 2.0. This release improves integration with vCenter and provides new manageability features including:

Automated generation and emailing of backup job reports.

Improved backup, integrity check, and reclaim operation performance.

Increased resiliency against transient network failures provides improved CIFS support.

Increased flexibility to schedule, pause, and cancel integrity check operations.

Partner Ecosystem

Expanded List of Supported Processors. The list of supported processors has been expanded for ESXi 5.0. To determine which processors are compatible with this release, use the Hardware Compatibility Guide. Among the supported processors are the the Intel Xeon E7-2800, E7-4800, and E7-8800 processor series, code-named Westmere-EX, and the Intel Xeon E3-1200 and i3-2100 processor series, code-named Sandy Bridge.

Support for Multi-queue Storage Adapters. The vSphere storage stack is enhanced to discover multi-queue capabilities of adapters and distribute the incoming I/O on these queues based on CPU affinity. This results in reduced CPU cost per I/O.

Feb 102011

I personally anticipated Thursday’s general session mostly because I like to hear Carl Eschenbach speak. Carl started as a SE for EMC a long time ago. He’s very comfortable speaking to a large room and it shows. The session was in the same large room as the first which houses about 4,000 people.
Thursday started off like this:
The usual disclam was posted about forward looking features. Dale Irvin started the general session with a few jokes about his experiences the night before. Funny stuff to wake the crowd.  First up was Carl Eschenbach, President, Customer Operations.

Carl Eschenbach

Carl begins by describing how the name of partner exchange was chosen and a recap of why we are here. Last week, Vmware had 3,300 of their worldwide sales force come to Las Vegas to train them on the company message. This week is the “second week” of vmware’s kickoff sales training as per Carl. He talks about some of the numbers: 63 countries represented, 3,300 attendees. Carl asks the top partner award winners to come on stage.  The partners represented are from a variety of awards, Best Infrastructure Partner, Best BC/DR Partner, Best Distributor, etc.
Carls then goes on to discuss some of the awards that vmware has won in 2010. Continue reading »

Feb 092011

As I’m sure most are aware, today began the majority of the content for VMware’s Annual Partner Exchange Conference.  This year’s event is located in Orlando, FL and runs thru Friday February 11,2011.  Today began with a formal general session from 9am to 11am.  My comments/thoughts are included in parenthesis.

The session kicked off with a introduction and recap of the VMware vision by Paul Maritz, Chief Executive Officer, VMware.

Paul described 2010 as a breakout year for VMware. VMware accomplished $2.9 billion in revenue, up 41 percent over 2009. He mentioned that international revenues were up 43 percent to $1.4 billion. He then thanks the audience, composed of partners and resellers, for that achievement. Paul also thanks the sponsors for the event including EMC, HP, NetApp, Cisco among others. After the thank yous are completed, Paul asks a rhetorical question of the crowd specifically if they know what customers want.  Paul says that customers want greater business agility while improving efficiency.  He says that in the next five years there will be a transformation in IT.  Specifically around Integration and Automation, New Application Platforms, and Device independence in what he referred to as a “post-Windows world” (love that term).  He reviews the chart of new server deployments by year and highlights 2009.  That was when VM deployments surpassed physical server deployments.  He thanks the partners again and exits the stage. Continue reading »